Wells Fargo is refusing to honor a 1982 cashier’s check. The 73-year-old man purchased the cashier’s check at Central Fidelity Bank in Virginia. That bank was later acquired by Wachovia which just recently was acquired by Wells Fargo. Full details of this dispute are described in this Herald-Tribune article in this Tampa Bay Times article.
Wells Fargo claims it doesn’t have to pay since there’s a five-year statute of limitations on cashier's checks. However, the man’s attorney says "Cashiers checks have to be paid regardless of the time that goes by [..] There's no five-year limit on the payment. They are a substitute for cash and have to be paid.” Apparently, the circuit court judge agreed and awarded the man $10,768 from Wells Fargo. Unfortunately, Wells Fargo decided to appeal the decision. You have to wonder how much of that money he’ll ever get back after he pays all of the attorney fees. On top of that, he’s waiting for a kidney transplant.
This reminds me a little of the time when Wells Fargo refused to honor its CD documentation that designated me as a beneficiary after my dad’s death. Fortunately, I was able to resolve this without an attorney (see my review).
This issue is also a good reminder to be careful with cashier’s checks. They should not be considered equivalent to cash. According to the Tampa Bay Times article:
Today's cashier's checks typically carry disclaimers saying they will be voided if not cashed in a specified period of time, often 90 days or six months.
That was not the case in 1982 when this man purchased that cashier’s check.